Substance Abuse

The majority of people in prison and jail have a substance use disorder. Despite the promise demonstrated by some treatment programs for people who are incarcerated, just a fraction of the people who need services for substance abuse receive it. Connecting people incarcerated to treatment programs proven to be effective, prioritizing resources for those nearing release, and encouraging community-based aftercare will ensure better outcomes for people released from prisons and jails, and the communities to which they return.

Substance Abuse FAQs

Providing answers on relevant topics concerning Mental Health, Health and Substance Abuse topics.

Recent Posts

Q&A with Julian Adler of the Red Hook Community Justice Center

Q&A with Julian Adler of the Red Hook Community Justice Center

As the nation’s first multijurisdictional community court, the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn has served as a neighborhood hub for clinical services, community service, youth programs, and other social supports since its founding in 2000.

DC Courts Are Connecting Individuals with On-Site Treatment

DC Courts Are Connecting Individuals with On-Site Treatment

Having an urgent care clinic located only feet away from courtrooms allows judges and court staff to guarantee that people have access to services. For many defendants, this may be the first contact they’ve had with a mental health professional. Moreover, for some, this treatment may well reduce the likelihood that they will be arrested in the future.

Congress Funds Key Criminal Justice Programs

Congress Funds Key Criminal Justice Programs

Congress funded three key programs championed by the Council of State Governments Justice Center as part of an appropriations bill that provided $26.7 billion to support U.S. Department of Justice programs.

Announcements

Reentry Conference and Resource Fair

Reentry Conference and Resource Fair

Hosted by the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s Office of Public Policy and Social Concerns, this conference will discuss the challenges that individuals returning home from incarceration face, as well as the best practices to address these challenges. It will also feature nonprofits and agencies that are working to support individuals returning home from incarceration.

Webinars

Risk Need Responsivity 101: A Primer for SCA and JMHCP Grant Recipients

Risk Need Responsivity 101: A Primer for SCA and JMHCP Grant Recipients

This webinar provides foundational knowledge on RNR as well as guidance on understanding and implementing risk assessment tools as a way to direct resources and support recidivism-reduction strategies for criminal justice and social service agencies, practitioners, and policymakers.

Improving Outcomes for Court-Involved Youth with Co-Occurring Disorders

Improving Outcomes for Court-Involved Youth with Co-Occurring Disorders

This webinar provides an overview of three briefs that were recently published by National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges on the treatment of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders among youth.

Publications

The Prison Population Forecaster

The Prison Population Forecaster

Cutting drug admissions in half will reduce the prison by 7 percent—or 33,000—by the end of 2021, according to a new tool developed by researchers at the Urban Institute.

Tip Sheet: Strategies for Service Providers Working with the Media

Tip Sheet: Strategies for Service Providers Working with the Media

This tip sheet from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration presents key steps for substance use service providers to consider when interacting with the media, which has increasingly been covering issues surrounding substance use disorders.

Toolkit: Meeting the Needs of Women in California’s County Justice Systems

Toolkit: Meeting the Needs of Women in California’s County Justice Systems

This toolkit from Californians for Safety and Justice describes how counties can benefit from developing criminal justice solutions focused on women. It is designed to provide sheriffs’ departments, probation departments, practitioners, and other leaders with a blueprint for addressing the needs of women under local supervision

Recent headlines

White House Announces New Plan to Combat Heroin in 15 States

The White House Office of Drug Policy said Monday that $2.5 million will be spent on a new initiative designed to combat the use and trafficking of heroin in 15 states, including Connecticut, by linking public health and law enforcement agencies with the goal of emphasizing treatment over punishment.

New Approach to Housing Santa Clara County Homeless

In what’s being called the first program of its kind in the state, Santa Clara County is partnering with a housing nonprofit and private organizations to get 150 to 200 chronically homeless folks off the street — and will only pay for the effort if it succeeds. Many of the individuals that the program targets have had contact with the criminal justice system and/or have two or three significant disabilities—mental health, physical disabilities, drug and alcohol addiction, veterans with PTSD,and more.

Changing Lives Through Zero Waste

The Amity Foundation is a non-profit founded over 40 years ago that has communities in Arizona, New Mexico, and California dedicated to supporting the difficult transition from decades in prison or on the streets to a healthy, independent lifestyle. Amity focuses on life skills such and physical and emotional well-being, and how to find a job, to teach a very marginalized population how to live successfully on their own.

States Rethink Restrictions on Food Stamps, Welfare for Drug Felons

A 1996 federal law blocks felons with drug convictions from receiving welfare or food stamps unless states choose to waive the restrictions. The bans, which don’t apply to convictions for any other crimes, were put in place as part of a sweeping reform of the nation’s welfare system, and at the height of the war on drugs. Now many states are rethinking how to help felons become productive citizens and reduce the likelihood they will return to prison.Since 1996, 18 states have lifted restrictions on food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and 25 allow people with certain types of drug felonies to get those benefits—leaving seven states where a felony drug record disqualifies a person from receiving them.

Bipartisan Push Builds to Relax Sentencing Laws

For several years, a handful of lawmakers in Congress have tried to scale back tough sentencing laws that have bloated federal prisons and the cost of running them. But broad-based political will to change those laws remained elusive. Now, with a push from President Obama and, perhaps even more significant, a nod from Speaker John A. Boehner, Congress seems poised to revise four decades of federal policy that greatly expanded the number of Americans who are incarcerated, to roughly 750 per 100,000, by far the highest rate of any Western nation.

State Pushes Medicaid Sign-Ups for Inmates

Three state agencies in Ohio are aggressively pushing to get the majority of the roughly 21,000 people who are released from prison every year enrolled in Medicaid up to 90 days before they walk out the door. Services don’t begin until they are released, unless they are hospitalized.

Why Does Pennsylvania Imprison So Many Mentally Ill People?

Based on an analysis of data from county and state prisons, PennLive estimates that nearly a third of Pennsylvania’s 87,756 inmates had a mental illness on an average day last year.It begs the question: Why are so many of the state’s mentally ill being locked up?

Federal Prisons Could Release 1,000 Times More Drug Offenders Than Obama Did

There is much buzz when President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 nonviolent federal drug offenders last week, whose “punishments didn’t fit the crime.” However, a lesser-known policy change, enacted in 2014 with far less fanfare will affect 1,000 times the number of people as Obama’s commutations. Colloquially known as “drugs minus two,” the amendment to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s guidelines could reduce the sentences of as many as 46,000 people.

No Escaping Medical Copayments, Even in Prison

Even going to prison doesn’t spare patients from having to pay medical copays. In response to the rapidly rising cost of providing health care, states are increasingly authorizing the collection of fees from prisoners for medical services they receive while in state prisons or local jails.